Thursday, September 01, 2005

This is a time for accountability.

My sister lives in New Orleans. Thankfully, she had the good health, the good money, and the good sense she needed to leave before Katrina arrived; she watched the disaster unfold from the safety of a Dallas suburb. She drives east today, and should be with our parents tomorrow.

Everything she owns is either in her truck or underwater.

She's insured, so she should be able to replace the possessions she has lost: the clothes, the sheets, the books, the furniture. But what about the rest? She is a Ph. D. student at a local university. It, too, is underwater, her research and her job with it. Her subjects are refugees or dead.

But she is more fortunate than the rest, those in the city and those refugees with nowhere to go; the dead and the dying.

The White House says, "this is not a time for politics." Arguable. But it is, at least, a time for accountability. Could this disaster have been mitigated? Prevented? If so, why wasn't it? The government owes the victims an answer.

In the aftermath of the storm, as survivors looted stores for food, clothes, and medicine, they were condemned for their actions, and it was debated whether they should be shot, or merely arrested. If they can be held accountable for their desperation and madness, even as the bodies of their neighbors float in the streets, then the government can certainly be held accountable for theirs.